It was on a Friday night when we found ourselves again and I remembered why I married him.
He sat across from me, at a table meant for four, and I ordered for us both. A waffle with fresh whipped cream and almonds, and a pour over coffee for him; a skinny cappuccino for me.
I ate the almonds from his plate and he let me run my finger through the whipped cream and for a good long moment I forgot we were only a block from our home.
Minutes ran through our fingers while we were alone and the day’s last moments of sunlight poured in, onto our table. I felt like we glistened in the evening’s sun, but looking back, I think we were just happy. Sometimes happiness feels like glistening and to me, that’s the best kind of happiness.
We made small talk and as an afterthought of sorts, I ordered a glass of wine for us to share…
Merlot, dry and sharp to the tongue.
The bottle caught my eye because of its hip and cool label. I always choose wine based upon its label and this one stood out to me. I bought a bottle to go and then one more to give away and I argued with myself on whether or not to buy a pound of coffee beans, too.
The Man just looked at me, from his place on the other side of the table, and smiled the smile that I love. “You can come back, you know,” he said. “We live just down the street.”
I grinned at him. “I really want them to stay. To make it,” I said. “Our city needs them to make it. Maybe I should commit to buy all our coffee beans here. Our wine, too.” I rambled on, lost in bigger thoughts, and the Man just listened.
(I love it when he listens to me. And I love it even more when he thinks I’m wildly crazy.)
I kept on rambling, dreaming audacious dreams, and there he sat, his chin in his hand, his eyes on me.
I was lost in the century’s old brick and the hope I saw etched in their walls and I was caught up in the idea of what this place could be…
What it could mean for our city.
Tonight, I sit here in my chair and it’s late. Late enough that the Man has already gone to bed.
I think back over every time I’ve ever made my way down the street to the little coffee shop tucked away in the beautifully renovated Imperial Tobacco company building and I swoon.
I swoon because this place breathes community and togetherness and hope.
It’s a place where coffee and people gather together in one space, in an old building steeped with history, and give back to the city from which they rise.
It’s a glorious thing to behold.
And it’s glorious because our city is “in decline”, or so most everyone seems to say. We’re crumpling up and giving up and dying.
Everyone says so and when everyone says so, it gradually becomes so.
But not here. Not at this independently owned cafe, just around the corner.
They are for us.
They are about restoring what seems to be lost and forgotten and breathing life into the seemingly dying.
They are about cultivating community when natural inclination speaks, “Preserve Self Above All Else!”
They are about elevating the small so that there is room for Greatness.
And they are about Rocky Mount when few are seeking the welfare of our city.
My house is asleep now and I swirl an inch of Merlot in my glass. I roll the cork from the bottle in the palm of my hand and I make a mental note to stop by the cafe, just around the corner…
Because I am compelled to join them in breathing life into our city.
I am linking this post over at Bloom, (in)courage’s book club, as we wrap up a summer spent reading and eating our way through Shauna Niequist’s book Bread & Wine. Join the rest of the community there?